ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Good Listener and Communication Skills

Updated on April 28, 2010

Improving your listening skills can improve your overall communication skills. Practice active listening and see how much more you can gain from meetings.

Are you a good listener?

If you spend a lot of time in meetings, on the phone, or talking to other people, paying attention to what other people are saying is essential. But do you really listen? Or are you just hearing what they are saying and not really thinking about what you have heard?

Listening is a skill, and to be good at it you need to practice. Learning how to be an active listener can help you retain information and can improve your communication with others. Improving your listening skills can also help avoid misunderstandings, which can be a source of stress.

Active listening

There are three steps for active listening:

  1. Hearing - Listening carefully enough to hear what the speaker is saying and be able to repeat it.
  2. Understanding - What you think the person speaking might mean.
  3. Judging - Does what the other person said make sense?

You can improve your active listening by paraphrasing and clarifying what the other person has said, and also by providing feedback. Using words such as "Do you mean..." and "Can you explain a bit more about..." can help both you and the speaker be clear about what has been said and agreed upon.

This may seem obvious, and it is, but many people have blockers that keep them from being good listeners.

Look at the traits below. Do you have any of these traits? If so, you may not be as effective a listener as you think you are!

Mind reading. You read the speaker's mind instead of hearing what they are saying. For example, "He said he liked it, but I can tell he didn't."
Selective hearing. You pay attention only to things that concern you, or that you want to hear.
Daydreaming. You're unable to listen because your mind wanders.
Self-comparison. Thinking about how you compare to the speaker (for example, "I am smarter than this person") rather than listening to what they are saying.
Jumping to conclusions. You have ready-made ideas about an issue before the speaker has finished talking, which may cause you to draw incorrect conclusions.
Have to be right. You'll go to any lengths to prove you are right, or look for ways you can twist the facts to your point of view.
Opinion giver. You give opinions, particularly negative ones, before the speaker is finished and tend to "put down" the speaker.
Pre-empter. You assume you know what the speaker is going to say before you let him or her finish talking.
Topic shifter. You have a habit of changing the subject before the speaker is finished.
Planning ahead. You think of questions and solutions while the speaker is still talking. Thinking is good, but you may not have finished listening.
Pleasing. You agree with everything before understanding the whole situation completely.

Top tips for being a good listener

Give your full attention to the speaker. Don't think about what someone else is wearing or look out the window! And, focus on content not delivery.
Let the speaker finish before you begin to talk. Don't pre-empt what they are going to say.
Finish listening before you start talking. You can't listen if you are thinking about what you are going to say next.
Avoid emotional involvement. Listen to what the speaker is saying, not what you want them to say.
Ask questions. If you don't understand, make sure you get the information clarified.
Give visual feedback. Engage with the speaker and nod to show you have understood; smile, laugh or frown to show your feelings.

Improving your listening skills can improve your overall communication skills. Practice active listening and see how much more you can gain from meetings and how much better you are able to understand other people's agendas.


  1. Cooper CL and Palmer S. Conquer your stress. Management Shapers published by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development. 2001


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)